ATLANTA - A Georgia lawmaker has introduced a new bill that could seriously restrict the rights of Muslim women to wear burqas and veils in public.
The lawmaker claims the bill only applies to drivers' licenses and drivers, but his critics said it is worded in a way that would have much bigger consequences.
House Bill 3 was prefiled on Tuesday for the upcoming legislative session beginning next year. The way the law is written, it may sound to some that women or men couldn't walk down a public street concealing their faces at all, but State Rep. Jason Spencer (R - Woodbine) said that's not his intention and the bill can be modified.
He does think burqas should be banned while driving. He said "People wearing head pieces while driving is a distraction and should be prohibited."
He also feels Muslim women should have to show their faces when getting a driver's license, something the Georgia Council of American Islamic Relations said already happens.
"You go to get a driver's license; you already have to show your face. Muslim women already do that no problem. That makes the law unnecessary and it's also unnecessary for the law to go further and require you to show your face when you are in public minding your own business. It's completely unnecessary. It's blatantly targeting a religious minority," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Georgia Council on American Islamic Relations.
CAIR plans on fighting the legislation.
Rep. Spencer said there's already a mask bill in place in Georgia and his bill just adds to that. He said his constituents fear masked Islamic terrorists.
Rep. Spencer did indicate in a phone conversation with News Radio 106.7's Christy Hutchings that there may be some wiggle room and he is willing to sit down to have a conversation about the bill before moving forward.
Based on the phone conversation i had with representative spencer- it sounds there's some wiggle room here- and he's willing to sit down and start having conversations.